Ask Laz: Our national nightmare: Must we give in to shrinking toilet-paper rolls?

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JoAnn has this to say: “Another of my toilet paper brands has shrunk to 4 inches by 4 inches. Do you know of any brands that have a sheet size bigger than that?”

She adds: “I know this sounds like a pathetic plea, but it literally chaps my hide!”

Needless to say, I’m happy to get to the bottom of things.

It’s no secret that toilet paper rolls are shrinking. For years, manufacturers have been sneaking in larger cardboard tubes, reducing the amount of paper.

And JoAnn is correct — the sizes of individual sheets also are diminishing. Once upon a time, the industry standard was 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches. Then we started seeing widths of 4.5 inches but lengths of 4 inches.

And now, indeed, we’re increasingly inhabiting a 4-by-4 world.

Are bigger sheets available? Click the video for the answer.


Got a question? Email me at And follow me on Twitter @Davidlaz.